Feeding Problems and Nutrient Intake in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-analysis and Comprehensive Review of the Literature

Abstract

We conducted a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of research regarding feeding problems and nutrient status among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The systematic search yielded 17 prospective studies involving a comparison group. Using rigorous meta-analysis techniques, we calculated the standardized mean difference (SMD) with standard error and corresponding odds ratio (OR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI). Results indicated children with ASD experienced significantly more feeding problems versus peers, with an overall SMD of 0.89 (0.08) and a corresponding OR of 5.11, 95 % CI 3.74–6.97. Nutrient analyses indicated significantly lower intake of calcium (SMD: −0.65 [0.29]; OR: 0.31, 95 % CI 0.11–0.85) and protein (SMD: −0.58 [0.25]; OR: 0.35, 95 % CI: 0.14–0.56) in ASD. Future research must address critical questions regarding the cause, long-term impact, and remediation of atypical feeding in this population.

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This was an unfunded study and no member of the research team has a conflict of interest.

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Sharp, W.G., Berry, R.C., McCracken, C. et al. Feeding Problems and Nutrient Intake in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-analysis and Comprehensive Review of the Literature. J Autism Dev Disord 43, 2159–2173 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1771-5

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Keywords

  • Diet
  • Food selectivity
  • Mealtime problems
  • Nutrition
  • Picky eating
  • Pediatric feeding disorders